Key members of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s Cabinet could be set for the chopping block with the arrival of MEP Miriam Dalli and OPM chief of staff Clyde Caruana to Malta’s parliament.
Dalli and Caruana will be co-opted into the house in the coming days. They are replacing former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and backbench MP Etienne Grech. However, it is major ministers who are looking over their shoulder with a significant reshuffle expected.
Sources have suggested that Finance Minister Edward Scicluna could be making way with Caruana touted for the role. Scicluna, who has served as Finance Minister since 2013, has been facing significant pressure over Moneyval, alleged inaction over financial crime and money laundering, and his own role in the Vitals Hospitals deal.
An economist by trade, Caruana had been serving as the Executive Charmain at Jobsplus until he was appointed as chief of staff in January 2020. He has backed foreign labour to sustain economic growth and played a key role in drafting Malta’s COVID-19 stimulus package and “mini-budget”.
Scicluna is expected to make way after the budget and opposition’s reply.
Where Dalli could end up is still up for speculation. Sources believe that Dalli could be appointed Minister for Energy and Water Management replacing Michael Farrugia.
Farrugia has been a jack-of-all-trades since being elected as an MP in 2013, being moved around from the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Family Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry, before being appointed as Energy Minister by Abela.
Farrugia has been subject to criticism for his role in the phantom job granted to Daphne Caruana Galizia middleman Melvin Theuma and his dubious meeting with main suspect Yorgen Fenech while serving as the parliamentary secretary for planning,
On the other hand, Dalli made a name for herself on the European stage for her role in drafting key climate change policies in the EU. Her environmental credentials would prove useful in the sector with Malta performing poorly in renewable energy use and achieving carbon-neutrality.
Dalli could also be appointed Environment Minister. However, sources said that the Energy Ministry is a more likely destination.
It is still unclear whether Scicluna or Farrugia would be appointed in alternative cabinet roles.
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